Let me see if I have this straight? With a stroke of a pen, what congress is required to do, CMS simply “waives” it off? Because they “think” Congress will make the Doctor fix? The congress is such a pain in the butt? Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have temporarily suspended the cuts in anticipation of the Fix. Hotair has a great update.
The Ticking Time Bomb That Could Scuttle Health Care Reform
The congressional debate over reforming the nation’s health care system is now complete. Yet, the challenge of quality care for our citizens is far from resolved.
On Thursday, unless Congress acts, physicians and their colleagues across the nation will face an across-the-board cut of 21.2 percent to Medicare reimbursements, with more cuts expected to follow in the coming years. Given the current precarious state of the health care delivery system, a jolt of that magnitude would send it into shock. It’s been documented in Maryland and across the country that a 21 percent cut in Medicare reimbursement would create huge shortages in physician access. The irony? All this pain and suffering can be avoided by eliminating the flawed formula that was supposed to create efficiencies.
Implementing the SGR would be ruinous to our health care delivery system. Medicare payments currently cover more than 51 percent of physicians’ direct practice costs. Yet Medicare payments today are only 1 percent higher than they were in 2001. During that same period, the costs for a physician to run a practice have increased 22 percent as measured by the Medicare Economics Index.
For the past 13 years, the sustainable growth rate formula, or SGR, has hung over Medicare like Damocles’ sword. While well-intentioned when it was included in the Medicare reimbursement formula in 1997, it has never been implemented. Congress has passed legislation every year since 1997 to avert the cuts that the sustainable growth rate formula requires. The reason is simple: Congress understands that cuts in compensation for care would reduce access to care and put more patients in harm’s way. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bal-op.medchi30mar30,0,7557568.story